Friday, June 1, 2012

Back in Black

Sorry I've been gone for so long.  My health has been not-so-good (understatement); sometime I may talk about that more.  Scratch that: I know I'll talk about it in detail at some point, as going through health problems through the last year and a half as dramatically altered my outlook on life in several significant ways.  But for right now, suffice to say that I've been in the hospital off and on for the last couple weeks while being in bed and rather drugged even when home.  So, not a lot of chance to write.

I have caught up on some reading, however, and, again, will be talking more about some of what I've been reading over the next few days/weeks/whatever.  One book that I just finished is "Sybil Exposed" by Debbie Nathan, an absolutely amazing book book about the Sybil case and the larger MPD phenomenon.  Ms. Nathan doesn't pull any punches and documents the multitude of problems with how the situation was handled and the mass hysteria it caused, but she does it with deep empathy.  There are no bad guys or good guys, just flawed people and even more flawed system that failed everyone involved.  Brilliant book; I also want to talk more about some of the issues it raised, later. 

One thing, though: the more I read about the history of psychiatry and even current practices, the more I feel that as a skeptic and a person with mental illness, I'm trapped between a rock and a hard place.  I know that I need help, but I also feel that when it comes to the understanding and treatment of mental illness, there is a lot of bullshit and comparatively little hard evidence.  Personally, I've been screwed by professionals who used unscientific treatment methods (the ex-gay therapist comes to mind, and the therapist who tried to convince me that I had repressed memories and needed to be hypnotized).  I've been drugged to the gills by one doctor and told I was fine and didn't need anything at all by another doctor (both times leading to serious issues, including a suicide attempt).  Right now I'm coasting on a bare minimum of medication--just one anti-depressant, given by my primary care doctor--and the support of friends and family when I become seriously depressed or anxious. 

But that's not enough.  This is not a lasting solution.  It's not fair to rely so totally on my family to take care of me when I'm too depressed to get out of bed or shower, or too scared to leave my house.  And it's not doing me any good, either.  But I'm honestly terrified to find help.  I don't want to go back to being so drugged I can't think, drooling and stumbling through life.  I don't want to be mind-fucked by another well-meaning therapist.  The two attempts I've made in the past couple months have been dead ends: a frankly weird-ass therapist who was overly invasive and straight-up lied to me on one occasion that I know for sure, and a doctor who diagnosed me as bipolar and obviously in need of hardcore mood stabilizers within five minutes of meeting me, without knowing my (very) complicated psychiatric and medical history.  So, I do know I need to work to find someone.  I'm just scared.

And reading books like "Sybil Exposed" doesn't do much to boost my confidence, you know? 

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